If we are going to have food stamps, why tell recipients to stop buying good food?
Why are MO Republicans imitating Michelle Obama’s lunch program with food stamps?
I hate food stamps. I wish they would be abolished. I don’t believe they actually help people but that they make it easy to become people who need help. Those who really needed help could be helped by voluntary gifts, especially if the state was not busy plundering the populace through taxation.
But none of the Missouri Republicans who are trying to change the food stamp program have any intention of abolishing it. Most probably don’t even want to (sadly).
The Washington Post Wonkblog reports, “Missouri Republicans are trying to ban food stamp recipients from buying steak and seafood.”
In 2013, Fox News proudly broadcast an interview with a young food stamp recipient who claimed to be using the government benefit to purchase lobster and sushi.
“This is the way I want to live and I don’t really see anything changing,” Jason Greenslate explained to Fox. “It’s free food; it’s awesome.”
That story fit a longtime conservative suspicion that poor people use food stamps to purchase luxury items. Now, a Republican state lawmaker in Missouri is pushing for legislation that would stop people like Greenslate and severely limit what food stamp recipients can buy. The bill being proposed would ban the purchase with food stamps of “cookies, chips, energy drinks, soft drinks, seafood or steak.”
If you watch that news story and come away with a suspicion about “luxury items,” you fell asleep while the program was running! The person is an able-bodied male. He shouldn’t be getting a dime for any item, whether luxury, common, or second-hand. He is a case study in why the government can’t be trusted to give away a dime.
But taking away seafood and steak is insane. Those two items have no business being lumped together with “cookies, chips, energy drinks,” and “soft drinks.”
“The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,” said Rick Brattin, the representative who is sponsoring the proposed legislation.
Seafood, especially wild-caught seafood, is some of the most nutritious food you can buy. Steak is nutritious too. Why take this away from poor people. Buying that stuff instead of the fried, pre-cooked chicken selects, or pizza, would be one of the wisest decisions a person could make! This law will basically provide stimulus for Tyson’s Chicken and Red Barron Pizza.
Brattin just makes things worse for himself when he says, “My intention wasn’t to get rid of canned tuna and fish sticks.” I don’t want anyone to be banned from eating fish sticks, but they are a lousy choice for nutrition. Crab legs are probably far better.
But he also insists that people are abusing the system by purchasing luxury foods, and believes that that must be stopped, even if it ends up requiring the inclusion of other less luxurious items.
“I have seen people purchasing filet mignons and crab legs with their EBT cards,” he said. “When I can’t afford it on my pay, I don’t want people on the taxpayer’s dime to afford those kinds of foods either.”
That is just insane. If you don’t want them to spend money on food then don’t give them money for food. But you can’t make a legislative fix for every outrage you see at a cash register.
I get upset at what people can buy on food stamps too. It is like I am being mocked for working rather than freeloading. But the system needs to be ended, not “fixed” by these torturous new regulations.
And Republicans should never do anything that makes them look like Michelle Obama!